Dragons mentioned in the Bible

Egyptians Catching PlesiosaurusThere are a number of places where it appears that dinosaurs or other similar creatures are mentioned in the scriptures. The Psalmist jubilantly declared, “Praise the LORD from the earth, you dragons, and all deeps:” (Psalm 148:7). Remember that the Bible was translated into English long before the word “dinosaur” was coined (back when scientists called the great reptiles “dragons”). The word “dragon” appears 21 times in the Old Testament alone (King James Version). Here’s another Psalm: “You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet” (Psalm 91:13). From the context it is clearly speaking about a real creature that it would be impressive and intimidating to step on! Jeremiah 51:34 states, “he has swallowed me up like a dragon…” which brings to mind the way many carnivorous reptiles gulp their prey whole. Both dragons of the sea (Psalm 74:13) and field (Isaiah 43:20) are mentioned and even the The Vocalization of the Dragon is alluded to. Indeed, Genesis 1:21 can best be translated: “And God created great sea monsters…” One such sea monster became sufficiently well-known to the ancients to be given the special name “Rahab” (Isaiah 51:9).

The prophet Ezekiel likened Pharaoh to a sea monster that invaded the Nile river and stirred up the mud as it swam (32:2). The Egyptians used nets to fish the Nile (and still do today). Ezekiel 32:3 talks about netting a dragon in order to haul it up onto the land. Ezekiel 29:3 refers to inserting hooks into the dragon’s jaws to draw it into the open field where the carnivorous animals would feed on its carcass. The picture is a vivid one that might recall an actual historical event that happened in ancient Egypt. The Hebrew word “tannin” is from the root meaning “to extend.” The language conjures up an image of a long-necked plesiosaur-like creature paddling up the river and stirring up the sediments of the Nile delta with its flippers. Just such a creature is depicted in ancient Egyptian art. So perhaps they actually captured and killed a sea dragon like Ezekiel describes.